Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

PURCHASE HERE

After the amazing phenomenal experience that was reading Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, I was obviously desperate to get my clammy paws on the sequel. I get nervous reading sequels, because what if it doesn’t live up to the incredibleness that was the first book?!? But Gemina was an absolutely mind-blowing book. It had gut-punching plot twists, blood and bullets, and that gorgeous and complicated visual formatting we know and love from this series.

And I think it probably has left many readers screaming into the void in pain and agony while waiting for the finale. I just have this hunch.

Gemina begins with two new characters from those in the first book. This time we have Nik and Hanna. Their relationship is love-and-war as Nik has an insurmountable crush on Hanna, but she, as the captain of the station’s daughter, is dating a respectable officer. Nik is son of cutthroat Mafia organisation that sells drugs (which Hanna buys covertly) so you can imagine that getting them together is not going to be easy. Since the story takes off outlining what’s happening at the Heimdall Jump Station while the journey in Illuminae is still going on, we get to see the evil Baytech company infiltrating the station and trying to take it down. Except they didn’t count on Nik and Hanna being a lot better at fighting then their given credit for.

I was worried I wouldn’t love these new characters as much as I adored Kady and Ezra from Illuminae…but I shouldn’t have been concerned! Hanna and Nik were fantastic and complex and dynamic. One of my favourite things about Hanna was how she drew quirky things in her journal, liked fashion, and did things like draw hearts around her and her boyfriend’s name…but then she was also skilled at physical combat training and military strategy. She was absolutely full of badass surprises.

PURCHASE HERE

Nik was equally wonderful, with a dash of tragic bad-boy on the side. As part of the Mafia, it’s dubious as to exactly what illegal activities he’s been involved with. Which does create some questions. And tensions. He’s about 90% sass and 10% sadness, which he covers with sass, and his crush on Hanna was equal parts adorable and pathetic. This is unrequited love at it’s finest. I also loved Nik because when something bad happened, he reacted like any normal teen would. He’s not bullet proof and he’s emotional.

And bad things happen to everyone all the time, so this book is, in a word: stressful.

The plot has a similar set up to the first book: two teens have to save a lot of people on a dire countdown. This time we have psycho soldiers from Baytech sneaking about and trying to utilize the wormhole for their own dark needs. There are freaky monsters in the vents and clever guerrilla warfare tactics.  Nik and Hanna are trying to save people and also stop the jump-station from exploding as the wormhole collapses. There’s clever traps, traitors, child computer geniuses, Mafia families, an irritating pop song, explosions, murder, and plenty of sass.

The plot twists are also my favourite part! This series never fails to blow my mind with the genius creativity. Although be ye warned: the cliffhanger is not kind.

And of course I must mention the art! This series is done in a very unique type of formatting, which involves pages of art, interestingly done typography, transcripts, interviews, and amazing galactic explosions across the page. The added affect of art by NYT bestselling author, Marie Lu, was also incredible and so cute. I would also thoroughly recommend the audiobook as it’s dramatised and features many actors and sound effects that makes it feel like a movie in your head!

Gemina was everything a sequel should be. It was exciting and terrifying and had my heart pounding several times wondering who’d make it out alive. The kill-count is high and the nerves are exploding. It’s not your traditional sci-fi story, which I think makes it the best kind.

Review: This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

9781743319703Since I recently reviewed These Broken Stars in all its incredible starry glory, I feel like we need a follow-up review of the sequel: This Shattered World! Because these books are EXCELLENT. And the third book (Their Fractured Light) comes out in December! SO SOON. I am anticipating it greatly by flailing and also planning to be an astronaut. But anyway. Onto the review!

This Shattered World is about Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac. Jubilee is in the army and crushing rebellions and, um, Flynn is the rebellion. They make an unlikely duo and get caught by people who want to kill them and they’re sassy and the plot is exciting and — it’s basically all-round interesting. No dull moments! And you never quite feel safe reading it, with this military people with their trigger-fingers and the rebels who will do anything to get their freedom back. I loved that it kept me glued to the page!

I loved This Shattered World, but I loved These Broken Stars (#1) a little bit more. The first book set such a high standard and I connected to the characters so much. But that doesn’t mean the sequel wasn’t incredibly exciting and intense. This Shattered World had a strong military vibe, conspiracy theories, and dug into politics. I did miss all the banter that book #1 had though. Although Jubilee is utterly kick-butt and you would not want to mess with her. Not ever. It’s also diverse! Which is so glorious. Jubilee is half Chinese. Flynn is Irish.

Oh, and remember the dastardly “whispers” from book #1? How everyone was going crazy because of them? WELL. HERE THEY ARE AGAIN. There’s more explanations this time and the sickness was referred to as “the fury”. Which is nefarious and evil.

Everyone also acted very mature. It’s still YA and the characters are around 18, but gwash, I guess the army living in outer-space ages you? I loved their kick-butt attitudes and confidence and maturity, but they felt very too old.

The romance between Jubilee and Flynn was definitely adorable and didn’t take over the plot. It’s more about war.  Jubilee and Flynn have similar personalities and their relationship basically started out as, “HEY I HATE YOU, YOU LITTLE REBEL.” Then guns firing. Glares flying. All the good romantic stuff. I loved their character development and how their relationship changed.

“Letting yourself get hurt isn’t brave, love. Brave is protecting others from hurt.”

I loved this book and it’s one I definitely have plans to reread. It was so rich in detail and so packed with conspiracy and secrets and broken hearts. I loved the characters and I was engrossed with the ending. There are some serious twists that will leave you gasping for breath. (I’m beginning to rely on Kaufman and Spooner to deliver mind blowing twists! They haven’t let me down yet!) This series has definitely sold me on sci-fi and I’m absolutely dying for the next book’s release.

 

PURCHASE:

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

9781423171027I had no idea what to expect when I read These Broken Stars (co-authored by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner) because I don’t read a lot of sci-fi. But WOW OH WOW. It was just incredible. It was exciting and sassy and flawless. I constantly hear it pitched as “The Titanic In Space” and basically – yes. It’s about space-ship crashes and survival and a hate-turn-love romance that makes me squeak with intense feelings. And have you seen that cover?! THAT DRESS!? Easily one of my most favourite covers of ever. I would recommend this book to every human, alien, and stray cat.

So go read it.

NO WAIT! Finish my review first, because I have more things to rave and flail about.

It’s set in space, so we get all the epic futuristic technology and starry descriptions. I love the thought of massive spaceships with their laser guns and soldiers and technology. What I didn’t know, when I picked it up, was how heavily it featured survival. It’s only partially about space things — but mostly, our two protagonists are fighting through an uninhabited planet jungle, trying to survive and be rescued. Since I’ve grew up devouring Gary Paulson’s Hatchet trilogy, this was so my thing.

Let’s discuss the characters! I loved them. It’s dual narrated by Lilac and Tarver.

  • Lilac LaRoux: she’s a “princess” — rich and snobbish, but such a sweetie underneath. Her father basically controls the galaxy (money, peoples, money is everything) and he dotes on her. Usually I find the “snob” character unlikeable and I don’t care about them. But not Lilac! She was interesting and relatable and I found it so easy to feel for her.
  • Major Tarver Merendsen: He’s the epic, young, and war-hero. Except that he’s extremely sarcastic. His humour was awesome! I loved how he was frustrated out of his mind with Lilac’s princess ways, but he was never cruel to her. I love how he kept being a gentleman – no matter what the circumstances. His voice is very different to Lilac’s too, which is super important in dual-narrated books. I loved BOTH their chapters and can’t even pick a favourite!

What I loved most about Tarver and Lilac is – they hated each other! It’s hilarious. Of course, they don’t stay that way, but they’re so snarky at the beginning.

“Where will I sit?”
Sit? Why, on this comfortable chaise lounge I’ve carried here for you in my pocket, Your Highness, so glad you asked. I clamp my mouth shut, struggling not to say it aloud.

 

Between each chapter is a snippet of Tarver being interrogated. I loved these! My only criticism is: some of them sounded the same. But Tarver really gives his interrogators a hard time and it’s hilarious.

“Major, to what extent did you act upon your feelings for Miss LaRoux?”
“Medium.”
“Excuse me?”
“How am I supposed to answer that question?”

 

The ending will blow your mind! It has a plot twist that basically knocked me over — and I loved it so so much. The writing is amazing and flows perfectly and, basically, I can say no evil about this delicious book.

[PURCHASE HERE]